It is a common fact the world is already aware of that Russia is one of the most advanced countries in the field of science and technology. It has always been going head to head with the United States of America when it comes to science. Russia beat its number one competitor when they successfully launched Yuri Gagarin in 1961 as the first man to go out of space and orbit the Earth. Now, it has once again rattled the world of science and technology with FEDOR. What is it and why it has become the incredible future innovation of the Russia? We will get down to it.
Meet Fedor, a Russian humanoid robot
For 11 years, a Non-Government Organization or NGO called Android Technology in Russia has released 50 robots for private companies, departments and corporations. Among its partners and customers are the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the FSB, the Ministry of Emergencies, the Ministry of Health, the Cosmonaut Training Center named after Yuri Gagarin, Russian Atomic Community, Rocket and Space Corporation (RKK) Energia and many more.
In 2014, the organization started working on a project that they do together with the Foundation for Advanced Research and the Ministry of Emergencies. Later, the project was called “Rescuer”, because at its completion a robot was supposed to be built and could replace a person in life-threatening conditions, for example, during rescue operations after an explosion in a factory, during a house collapse, natural disasters, et cetera.
The creation of the robot, which will later be called Fedor, took place in two stages and took two years and four months. First, the company created five technological layouts to develop software; two of them looked like full-fledged robots, the rest did not have a top or bottom. In 2015, Android Technology began the second phase of the project – the creation of the final version of the anthropomorphic rescue robot. It was at that moment that it was called FEDOR that stands for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research. But, at one of the many exhibitions of the automated rescuer, it was also mentioned that Fedor was given by Dmitry Rogozin, the chairman of the board of trustees of the Foundation for Advanced Research.
About 90% of electronic components for Fedor were manufactured in Russia. Android Technology purchased them from its long-standing partners, Abris-Technology and Silicium Enterprises from St. Petersburg.
Fedor and the Obstacle Course
In the near future, FEDOR should pass an obstacle course: drive a car, follow a route in a typical building, overcome a special obstacle course, demonstrate handling of hand-held power tools and handling special tools used by the Ministry of Emergencies – hydraulic expansion and a jack, as the required minimum that is part of this project.
The control of the robot must be combined: a part of the functions must perform automatically, while the other part copies the movements of the operator. The robot should not just enter the building and climb the stairs, but also open the door with the key, turn on the light, open the water tap, et cetera. The task is to reach very fine motor skills. Throughout September 2018, FEDOR was engaged in the fact that it passed the tests stipulated by the technical specifications, including the obstacle course.
The Jobs for Fedor
After demonstrating the FEDOR skills, Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin commissioned the Advanced Research Foundation, together with the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation, to adapt the robot to participate in the flight of the promising manned spacecraft. In near-Earth orbit, FEDOR can be used to assist astronauts during work in outer space, and in the future, completely replace them in this work.
The robot will have to work in a vacuum, serious temperature extreme. Brothers of the FEDOR robot will be able to sink to the bottom of the ocean, work at the enterprises of the nuclear and chemical industries. They can be used wherever it is advisable to replace a person so as not to endanger his life and health. There are a lot of professions for this robot, that’s why the tests included such a difficult obstacle course.
The realization of jobs for FEDOR has already happened since 22 August 2019 when it was launched to the International Space Station to stay for one week and a half on the orbital outpost. The model for this task was named Skybot F-850. On 27 August 2019, the spacecraft carrying FEDOR – Soyuz – successfully docked with the International Space Station’s Zvezda module at 6:08 AM, Moscow time. On Friday, 30 August 2019, FEDOR made it to match plug connectors that imitated operations done during a spacewalk. On 6 September 2019, the manned with no crew reentry capsule of Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft that carried the robot returned to Earth and successfully landed on the designated area in Kazakhstan.
The creator of FEDOR admitted that there is still a long road ahead to make the robot able to perform its tasks better. The base of autonomous movements that the robot will be able to perform independently will be constantly updated. The developers suggest involving in replenishment of the library of standard movements sampled from university students. However, from the tele operator control mode, such as copying the actions of the human operator, the robot will not get rid of it soon, given that the creation of artificial intelligence has not yet led to the desired results.
Human intelligence in robotics has not been replaced for a long time, but it can be automated as much as possible, which is what the FEDOR developers are doing. Automation of functions allows the operator to not deal with trifles, such as maintaining the balance of the robot. Otherwise, it will be a child around whom the nannies will scurry around, but it should be the other way around so that the robot can be an assistant to humans. The Russian scientists’ homework is not done yet, but FEDOR has proven itself as the incredible future technology of the nation.